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New Chapters - Are you ready for it?


With all of the layoffs happening in big corporations, the topic of a "new chapter" has been on my mind. Sometimes new chapters are planned for and much anticipated, but other times, they can be thrust upon us in a sink-or-swim mode. I have to say I am hearing more and more from people late in their careers that a big pivot has occurred because they can no longer find a rewarding career in the space, they have dedicated their whole lives to. Bittersweet news, isn't it? We spend our whole careers in one space and then all of a sudden you are either overqualified for every position or you are only valued for your most recent gig and not all that you have done before.


I often wonder about "famous" individuals who are faced with that next chapter after reaching the pinnacle of their careers. Think about those who have done it seamlessly like Troy Aikman (from football star to broadcaster and beer expert) and Cher (singer, actress, Broadway star and still selling out concerts.) They both had to reinvent themselves more than once and they kept on trying new things to find a bright path into the future.


Then some have not fared as well. Matt Lauer (Today Show host at the top of his game who has never recovered) and Sandra Day O'Connor who recently passed away. She gave up her career as a Supreme Court Justice to care for her ailing husband and just disappeared from her former world. I'm not saying that what she did wasn't admirable, but I'm saying her career hit a breaking point and never recovered. I read she was always happy with her decision to walk away from it all, so she made the right choice for her and her family.


So, the rest of us must face this dilemma as it presents itself. I subscribe to the idea that being forced to do something new is an opportunity to explore new things that you have always wanted to do. New things that you will regret not doing if your working time comes to a close. It may be something like teaching or working in the non-profit space. Or it may be a pivot to a new industry that requires you to take a few steps back. The hard part is knowing when it is time to change course. I think it comes down to having faith in yourself that you can be successful in any arena. While it may not be the same "level" or position as you once held, the satisfaction and internal rewards for your efforts may exceed anything you could have imagined. Let's call it a Next Chapter Leap of Faith.




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